Gegard Mousasi : Middleweight Elite

Gegard Mousasi
(Photo by Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images for Bellator MMA)

Gegard Mousasi is considered a veteran in the mixed martial arts game, but the Dutch Bellator champion is only 33 years of age.

The well-rounded fighter has a ton of cage experience under his belt and is considered by some to be one of the greatest middleweights of all time. He holds wins over Hector Lombard, Melvin Manhoef, Jacare Souza, Mark Hunt and Ovince Saint Preux. Mind you, these wins were all before ”The Dreamcatcher” signed with the UFC.

He continued to impress once he signed with the biggest MMA promotion in the world. Mousasi went on to defeat high caliber fighters like Ilir Latifi, Mark Munoz, Dan Henderson, Costas Philippou, Thales Leites, Thiago Santos, Vitor Belfort, Uriah Hall, and former UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman. His last four fights in the UFC were all first or second-round knockouts.

Old Friend

Mousasi was born in Tehran, Iran to Christian-Armenian parents during the Iran-Iraq War.

At the age of four, Mousasi and his family relocated to Leiden, the Netherlands where he finished grade school before developing an interest in mixed martial arts. His older brother Gewik was a mixed martial artist before him, and Gegard decided to follow in his footsteps.

Gewik is currently a prolific MMA trainer in Holland. He also handles the finances for Gegard’s career payments. After the Chris Weidman fight, Mousasi and his team had to make a tough decision. The UFC was not going to pay him his worth and that frustrated a quality fighter like Mousasi. He wanted to get paid just as well as his countryman Alistair Overeem. They refused him any financial security, leaving the Dutch powerhouse no other option than to leave the UFC in 2017. An old friend came to the rescue. Scott Coker knew Mousasi from the Strikeforce days where he signed Mousasi back in 2009. Mousasi would only lose one match in Strikeforce against King Mo, who failed a test for the anabolic steroid drostanolone in 2012.

Bellator

Scott Coker made Mousasi an offer that he couldn’t refuse and ”The Dreamcatcher” was set to debut in 2018 for Bellator. He and Rory MacDonald are Bellator’s biggest UFC transfers thus far. Mousasi would win his first match in Bellator against Alexander Shlemenko by a unanimous decision, although the fight was close.

A couple of months later Mousasi took on then-middleweight champion Rafael Carvalho. ”The Dreamcatcher” would close the show early, taking Carvalho down and finishing him with ground and pound.

Mousasi was the DREAM champion, the Strikeforce champion, and is now the Bellator champion. He doesn’t care about not having the UFC belt, citing the political nature of the UFC.

Superfight

Mousasi decided that he will retire within one year. He’s got three more fights left on his contract and after that, the middleweight champion wants to spend more time with his family.

He has said that a special offer could keep him in the game.

Few expected Mousasi to defeat Rory MacDonald as easily as he did. In the first Bellator superfight (champion vs. champion), Rory came nowhere near Gegard. Mousasi is currently on an eight-fight winning streak. Lately, he has been opening up in front of the media, and the fans really enjoy that. Training in Amsterdam with Bert Kops at the Bert Kops Gym, Mousasi has evolved into a complete mixed martial artist. He is feared on the feet as well as on the ground. Both situations suit him perfectly, making it hard for opponents to figure out what ”The Dreamcatcher” is going to do next.

Retirement

Mousasi started training in judo at eight years old, and boxing at the age of 15. He would go 9-1 in his boxing career and then quickly found kickboxing. Kickboxing enjoys a good deal of popularity in Holland and has produced some of the all-time greats.

Mousasi is a fantastic submission grappler, but most of the time it’s the stand-up and the ground-and-pound that gets the job done. Training with his wrestling coach Bert Kops gave ”The Dreamcatcher” a lot of confidence, and now it’s Mousasi who takes opponents down.

A true veteran in the game, Mousasi is just 33 years of age. He has 45 wins under his belt. The Dutch powerhouse is not someone who wants to keep fighting until the age of 40. He enjoys spending time with his family on his ranch in Leiden. He wants to quit at his highest point and leave the sport in a memorable way.

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